Tuesday March 28.
We had arranged to meet Rudy out taxi
driver/guide at 9am. It was a wet trip in the dinghy. Annie stood up and I wore
wet weather bib and brace.
Rudy spoke english and knew
exactly (down to the last photocopy) what we needed and where to go and in what
order. We visited a few offices (Immigration,Maritimo, Canal Authority) and in
each one there was nobody else waiting and each visit only took about 5 minutes.
No waiting and no tooth sucking. A change from the BVI. By comparison these
were the paperwork Olympic champions. They were really efficient. It all
took an hour and a half and Rudy charged $20.
Then we went shopping. What a
pleasure. Even for me. We knew what we wanted and got it all in 2 shops!! and at
a very good price! From Tupperware to crab crackers (metal not biscuits),
toilet paper to backpacks.
Then we taxied back to the
Panama Canal Yacht club and had lunch at the Chinese
restaurant. I went to find the mechanic and
try and arrange a slip. By 4.30 we were going home. I had to get the 4x150 foot
lines out to show the guy from the canal who was coming in the morning to
inspect our boat.
We watched some ships go by.
This is quite a neighborhood. Some of the worlds largest ships are moving
through as well as cruise ships. Some tie to docks, some anchor, some just keep
going. But this harbour is so huge there is ample room and you have to make a
conscious effort to look and see all that goes on.
The next day the
"admeasurer"came and measured our boat with.....you guessed it.... a tape
measure. This is to determine how much it will caost to Transit the Canal, we
came in at less than 50 feet so will pay the minimum charge which is $650US.
There were also another 4 or 5 forms to fill in. He was pleasant and also
Thursday came and we moved from
the anchorage to the Yacht club. It was a bit nerve racking as the
hydraulics were not working properly and we didn't have much power to the
propeller. Luckily there was not much wind and we got in OK. Ahh! Safe
at last and no more wet dinghy trips. We are staying here until the
mechanical problems are solved. Then we had to go into town and pay our
money to transit the canal at a bank. Then the next day when they have your
money they give you a date to go through. So we paid on Thursday 30 March
and got a date of Wednesday 19 April. Oh well plenty of time to fix the